Ohio University

OHIO-in-LA program prepares students for success on the west coast

OHIO-in-LA program prepares students for success on the west coast

The OHIO-in-LA program is celebrating its fifth anniversary this academic year. Facilitated by the School of Media Arts & Studies, the program supports students as they they gain real experience in Los Angeles’ media and entertainment industries.

“It's really exciting to see it take shape, and what the students get out of it. And now we've got alumni from the program that are out here working, building really successful careers working for great companies,” Roger Cooper, associate professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies, said. “It's just really rewarding to see the successes of the students and the program.”

Cooper, the program director, said Kyle Bowser came up with the idea for OHIO-in-LA. Bowser aimed for a plan similar to other LA-based programs at Syracuse University and the University of Texas at Austin.

“Because I had done a spring break in LA program, they came to me and asked if I would be interested in doing it,” Cooper said. “I was very interested, a little reluctant, just from the standpoint that I live in Athens and that's where my home is, (but) with the support of my wife and endorsement of my wife, we went for it.”

Cooper credits three factors for the success of the program: the initial group of 20 students who participated in the first session during fall semester in 2014; the Bobcat alumni presence in LA; and the increasing number of applicants every term.

Alex Malcolm, an alumnus of the summer 2017 program and 2018 OHIO graduate, said his experience in the Los Angeles enabled him to see what he wanted out of a career. He is currently a sync coordinator at Warner/Chappell Music in Los Angeles. He credits the internship he had through OHIO-in-LA for plotting a course for his career.

One of his internships in music supervision during the program was at Neophonic Music and Media, which helped him get his job at Warner.

“It was really nice and convenient because I didn’t have to do a job search,” Malcolm said. “So I got really lucky and I love it.”

Michelle Zende, a 2018 graduate of both OHIO and the LA program, said her decision to participate in the program was the best way to transition to LA.

Zende, who studied integrated media, said her experience allowed her to narrow down what she wanted to do in her future career. She is currently a development intern at Stage 29 Productions in LA.

“A lot of my friends have done it and participated in the program. They said it was a great experience,” Zende said. “I would see how they would come back to Ohio from the program and just have more confidence. That's kind of what I was looking to gain.”

Patrick Evans said he never thought he would come to LA. He previously interned twice in Ohio and had plans to attend graduate school upon graduation. He went on the LA program in spring 2018 of blank and graduated OHIO in 2018

“LA can seem like this very scary place… it's literally a different world out here,” Evans said. “What really sold me on the LA program was that I got to experience the industry while not feeling left alone, not feeling isolated, and not feeling that I'm lost and not knowing what to do.”

The application deadline for the summer 2019 session (May 29-Aug. 10) is Feb. 15. The application deadline for fall 2019 (Aug. 25-Dec. 14) is March 1. Interested students can attend an information session Wednesday, January 30, at 7 p.m. in RTV 265. Learn more about OHIO-in-LA at the program’s website.